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OC Register: Shohei Ohtani hits in simulated game, moving closer to rejoining Angels lineup

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BALTIMORE — Shohei Ohtani took part in a simulated game on Saturday at Angel Stadium, bringing his return to the Angels lineup closer.

Although the Angels have not given a timeline for Ohtani, presumably a simulated game would indicate he’s within a week of returning, barring a setback.

A simulated game for a hitter involves facing an actual pitcher, not a coach, with balls and strikes being called. They also typically set up situational hitting tests. Ohtani had been running the bases for a week, so that wasn’t an issue.

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The Angels immediately provided little other detail about how many times Ohtani hit or who he faced, but Scioscia said before the Angels game in Baltimore that the Angels were bringing to some minor leaguers to face Ohtani.

Ohtani was cleared to resume batting practice on Thursday, three weeks after he underwent stem-cell therapy and received a platelet-rich plasma injection to heal a damaged ulnar collateral ligament. Although the ligament hasn’t healed enough for Ohtani to pitch, the Angels are hoping to soon have him back in the lineup as a hitter. The status of his rehab as a pitcher will be updated in three weeks.

He had taken batting practice off coaches for two days before ramping up his activity on Sunday.

General manager Billy Eppler said on Thursday that Ohtani would not need to see any live game action in the minors, because he doesn’t need to play in the field.

The Angels conclude their series in Baltimore with a day game on Sunday, followed by an off day and the start of a three-game series in Seattle on Tuesday.

More to come on this story.

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